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'He was so lucky': New Zealand fisherman rescues 18-month-old toddler from ocean

The baby had pulled the zip of the parents’ tent open while they were sleeping and walked down to the beach.

Matata Beach, New Zealand
Matata Beach, New Zealand
Image: Shutterstock/Jana Rajcokova

A NEW ZEALAND FISHERMAN has rescued an 18-month-old boy from the sea. 

The toddler had escaped from his parents’ tent at Murphy’s Holiday Camp at Matata beach early on 26 October, according to New Zealand news outlet Stuff

Fisherman Gus Hutt was returning to check his lines at 7.15am when he saw the seemingly lifeless baby floating in the water. 

“He was floating at a steady pace with a rip in the water. If I hadn’t been there, or if I had just been a minute later I wouldn’t have seen him,” Hutt told Stuff.

“His face looked like porcelain with his short hair wetted down, but then he let out a little squeak and I thought, ‘Oh god, this is a baby and it’s alive’,” he said. 

He was bloody lucky, but he just wasn’t meant to go, it wasn’t his time.

Hutt’s wife Sue ran to the parents’ tent to tell them what had happened after the holiday camp managers informed her that they were the only people staying there with a baby. 

Speaking to Stuff, Jessica Whyte, mother of the toddler, said she the news felt like a “sick joke”. 

It was scary but he was breathing, he was alive. Oh god, it was amazing seeing him. I gave him a big hug. 

According to Stuff, emergency services, along with the Matata Volunteer Fire Brigade, arrived at the scene and treated the boy for 15 minutes before an ambulance came to take him to hospital. 

The newspaper reported that the baby had pulled the zip of the parents’ tent open while they were sleeping and made his way down to the beach. 

Hutt told the newspaper that he later followed the baby’s tracks down to the beach and “saw his little footprints in the sand where he walked”. 

He said that the baby was about 15 metres away from where he had his rod, so he determined that he wasn’t in the water for long. 

Whakatane Police confirmed to the BBC that they attended the scene, adding that the baby was now “okay”. 

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